Monday, February 16, 2015

Ellington sings!

The Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine has an article about Duke Ellington’s “Moon Maiden,” a piece written for the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing. “Moon Maiden” is to my knowledge the only singing Ellington ever did on record. I know the tune from the 1969 solo version released on the 1977 Pablo LP The Intimate Ellington. There Ellington plays celeste and speaks the lyric. YouTube has a full band version with Ellington singing, most likely also from 1969. Above, Ellington playing and singing as part of ABC-TV’s Apollo 11 coverage. That’s Rufus Jones at the drums.

Though “Moon Maiden” is Ellington’s singing debut, it isn’t his vocal debut. Ellington spoke on the 1934 recording “Saddest Tale.” And in 1951 he narrated “Monologue (Pretty and the Wolf).”

I wonder if Brian Wilson and Mike Love had something to do with the vi-i-i-i-brations in “Moon Maiden.”

Related reading
All OCA Duke Ellington posts (Pinboard)
Five sentences about life on the moon

comments: 1

The Crow said...

Wow! Fantastic way to start the day - thanks, Michael!